Jakarta. A recent show by students of Susan Budihardjo's fashion college — the LPTB Susan Budihardjo — was one of those rare moments in fashion when creativity trumped crass commercialism.
The college, founded in Jakarta in 1980, holds one gala fashion show every year for its new batch of graduates. This year, the show was held at the Ciputra Artpreneur theater in South Jakarta last Friday (09/02).
The theme of the show was "Balance."
"It's a simple idea, and it comes from direct experiences of living in a big city like Jakarta," Susan said in a press conference. "I think everyone who lives here has to maintain a good balance [in life] in order to thrive."
The show this year was a special four-act theatrical performance.
"The students wanted to do the show in a new, more attractive format," Susan said.
An interactive light show opened the first act. The curtains were raised to reveal 12 models posing on top of scaffolds on a darkened stage lit with a smattering of neon lights.
This first act's theme, 'Architectural,' took its inspirations from Jakarta's skyscrapers.
Structured, loose-fitting outfits in dark monochromatic hues dominated. Metallic zippers, buttons and clasps embellished some of the items.
A short ballet piece by Marlupi Dance Company followed each act of the show.
'Flow', the second act, showcased suave evening looks for men and women.
Soft and pliant materials — think lots of scuba and neoprene — were used judiciously in men's tailored jackets embellished with wavy ribbon appliqués.
Silk and tulle were made into elegant cocktail dresses, adorned with frills and discreet panels.
The third and fourth acts of the show featured edgy, casual pieces for men and women made mostly of denim.
Grand Textile Industry supplied all the denim featured in the last two acts.
"The concept for the show was very interesting. It matched our company's goal to create fabrics that can be used in new and innovative denim pieces," Albert Tjandra from Grand Textile Industry said.
Using hi-tech machines provided by the textile company, the students bleached some of the denim and re-dyed them in sassy neon colors.
Using a special machine, they distressed denim pants or attached featherlike frills cascading down the legs.
The show culminated with a new collection from 'Acakacak,' the college's own fashion brand managed by some of its ex-students.
Three Acakacak designers — Bella Scholastika, Olivia Sembiring and Bunga Ludmilla — created a denim collection called 'Equilibrium.'
"This collection is all about equality between genders, religions and races," Bella said. "We believe that beneath all of that, we're all the same human beings."
It featured many slim-fitting denim pieces adorned with gender-fluid acrylic or embroidered details. The designers also inscribed positive and uplifting messages on the jeans using laser.
"We want to create a real social impact with the clothes that we wear," Bella said.
The audience broke into rapturous applause at the end of the show.
"It was great and very exciting," shoe designer Yongki Komaladi said. "Susan and her students always bring fresh, innovative ideas."
"They're always very forward-thinking. Their shows always feel relevant to current issues and are never boring," Yongki said.